Syracuse Offense Stifled Again, Orange Drop Ninth Game of the Year

Sunday, Feb 24, 2019 at 3:53 pm by Sports Editor

By Tom Russo

CitrusTV Softball Beat Reporter

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After shutting the Orange out 8-0 in five innings, Kelly Barnhill locked down the SU bats again as No. 3 Florida (17-0, 0-0 Southeastern) beat Syracuse (4-9, 0-0 Atlantic Coast) 8-2 this afternoon.

Barnhill went four and two-thirds, giving up only three hits while striking out seven batters. Syracuse would get its two runs in the final two frames off of freshman Elizabeth Hightower.

However, one of those runs was unearned due to an error charged to Haven Sampson, who dropped an easy fly ball in left field to put Neli Casares-Maher on second in the sixth.

Nine Syracuse runners were left on base or erased by the Florida fielders, as the strikeout bug continues to plague the Orange. Syracuse struck out nine times against the Gators. On the year, the Orange have struck out 80 times, averaging six strikeouts per game.

The run-rule victory over Florida A&M yesterday was the only contest in which Syracuse hitters didn’t strikeout once. More specifically, if you remove that game and the three run-rule losses, the Orange have struck out no fewer than 5 times in a regulation length game.

The pitching hasn’t been able to hold opponents in check either through the first three weekends.  Syracuse pitching has yielded five runs or more in eight of its first 13 games.

Sophie Dandola came into the day Syracuse’s best option in the circle, sporting a 1.79 ERA, but that ballooned to 2.63 after surrendering eight runs in six innings today. However, only six of the eight were earned as yet another Syracuse error, the 17th of the season, allowed two extra runs to cross.

Syracuse will now return to campus to regroup, before heading to Oklahoma this weekend for the OSU/Tulsa Invitational.  The Invitational will start with a doubleheader on Friday, taking Seattle (7-6, 0-0 Western Athletic) at 1 p.m. and a bout with No. 20 Oklahoma State (10-5, 0-0 Big 12) at 6 p.m. | @TomRusso24